Brett Williams on gay bias ruling against Colorado State Patrol
Brett Williams loved being in the Colorado State Patrol, where he rose to the rank of captain in twelve years. But he says he knows it isn't possible for him to return to the job. Why not? Because Williams was rejected for reinstatement for reasons he believes were connected to his sexual orientation -- he's gay. And a judge has agreed, slapping the CSP for an anti-gay culture exemplified by a background exam and polygraph during which Williams was quizzed about everything from porn to child molestation.
Earlier this month, in a decision on view below, State Personnel Judge Mary McClatchey determined that in dealing with Williams, the State Patrol had demonstrated a clear bias against homosexuals. Due to actions she described as "arbitrary, capricious and contrary to law," she awarded Williams "front pay" -- defined as a damage award representing the additional pay he would have earned if he'd been reinstated -- in addition to attorney fees and costs.
This money won't be forthcoming anytime soon, however. As noted by 7News, the Colorado Department of Public Safety disagrees with the ruling and has announced its plans to appeal -- although the department's executive director, Jim Davis, told the station that the state would voluntarily comply with a number of orders issued by McClatchey, including diversity training and a command-level contact person specifically designated to deal with gay personnel.
These apparent concessions don't convince Williams that the atmosphere for gays at the State Patrol will improve.
"I know they said they'd implement policies and training, but they already have policies in place, and they weren't followed," he says. "And the people who put me through this are still in control. So I don't believe there will be any change."
The narrative contained in the decision document notes that Williams received exemplary evaluations during his time with the CSP, but also maintains that he was the subject of gay rumors. Nonetheless, he was the guest of honor at a going-away party after he decided to leave the patrol in February 2010 in order to pursue a lifelong dream of becoming a helicopter pilot.
Williams subsequently attended a flight training school and became a reserve police officer in Brighton. But just a few months later, in April, he sent his boss, Chief James Wolfinbarger, an e-mail and attached letter explaining that he missed the work and camaraderie of the patrol and asked to be reinstated.
Wolfinbarger explained that Williams would have to come back as a trooper, not a captain, and he'd also be made to undergo a polygraph exam and a full background investigation.
A form required by the latter included the question, "Since the age of eighteen, have you ever been involved in the making, viewing, possessing, marketing or distributing of child pornography in any form?" The query prompted Williams to recall an occasion a couple of years earlier when he was viewing pornography on a website and a video popped up featuring someone he suspected was underage. Although he quickly clicked out of the video, he answered "yes" in an effort to be completely honest.
During a pre-interview for the polygraph examination, child porn was a major topic of conversation. Additionally, Williams admitted that during a visit to Thailand, he had paid for a massage that had concluded with a happy ending -- something that was perfectly legal there. Shortly thereafter, the examiner asked if the masseuse had been male or female, and Williams, who had not shared his sexual orientation with his supervisors or co-workers, replied, "Male" -- essentially outing himself against his will.
Page down to continue reading about Brett Williams's story, and to see the decision in his favor.